On Oct. 4th we celebrate the feast day of St. Francis of Assissi. I would guess that there is no other saint in existence who has more picture books dedicated to him; he is the saint for all peoples. What’s not to love about the peaceful man? You will find St. Francis statues in nature lover’s gardens and you’ll find New Age pacifists quoting him on the topic of peace. Whatever the case may be, it’s always a good idea to get a true sense of the man with some lovely books. And you have many great choice to choose from. Here is just a partial list of some of the better St. Francis-related titles out there:
Saint Francis of Assisi: A Life of Joy
Canticle of the Sun: Saint Francis of Assisi
Brother Sun, Sister Moon
The Good Man of Assisi
Francis: The Poor Man of Assisi
But I want to especially highlight my personal favorite book on the man, called Clare and Francis. I don’t think I can sing the praises of illustrator Bimba Landmann enough. I first discovered her with the excellent book: A Boy Named Giotto, and have since placed all her titles on my wish list. She is such a unique artist for children: color, beauty, and a hint of eerie grace all her pictures. I am so glad she didn’t let her teacher act as a killjoy for her: I decided to become an illustrator when I was a child.
“I think I was about ten years old, or maybe less. I went on a school visit to a museum where there were a lot of ancient illuminated books, all hand painted by Reinassance monks. When I saw those blues… the golds…the paper… I was lightening struck, gripped by this emotion. I immediately rushed to my teacher and told her: “I know what I will do when I grow up!” But she laughed and answered, “that sort of work does’nt exist any more”. I didn’t believe her at all, and I went on filling my exercise book with words, drawings, colours and images from my inner world. “
If you are just going to have one book about St. Francis on your shelves, make it this one… a sample of the inside:
I love all the titles you highlighted — those are some of my favorites! This book is slated to be our bedtime reading tonight. I love the illustrations, too!
She really is great; it's taken all my willpower to not buy her Achilles or Odysseus book full price! But we ARE studying Ancient Greece right now so one or both may have to end up in my hands after all!